Opake One is a London based graffiti artist and has been practicing graffiti art since the age of 13. Over time, he has developed a distinct painting technique and combines both illustrative images of wildlife with elements of graffiti to create a new and exciting body of work.
Opake first started out writing graffiti because as a child he loved the idea that people could paint large-scale pieces, outdoors, for free. As he started to get more involved in the graffiti subculture, he was really drawn towards painting big, full-colour pieces with others.
Opake’s illustrative style stems from his interest in traditional tattoo culture. Big, bold, black lines and block colour. This developed from doing a tattoo apprenticeship and seeing that style of tattooing daily. His interest in tattoos and love of bold colours, combined with graffiti-tag styles, are all evident in his collection.
If you take a look at work by Opake there is a lot of detail to every piece. Old school, simple tattoo designs that many people will be familiar with, feature regularly. “C/S” also known as con safos, is a Chicano term meaning with safety. This is used to mark graffiti, and is also present in a lot of his imagery. In graffiti subculture, when a piece is marked with con safos, it indicates that the graffiti piece is complete, unarguable and “off limits” to other writers. This term is also used in tattoo culture a lot as well. The crown symbol seen in Opake’s work also stems from graffiti. Opake explains that “If you are up in the graffiti culture and are prolific, then you are considered a king.”
Opake also has a deep interest in music. This combined with his love of graffiti has inspired the backgrounds of the work seen in much of his collection. Using spray paint and Posca marker pens, Opake has used his signature tag styles to hand-write the lyrics of music, pertinent to each piece. Opake tells us, ” for me, tagging is the rawest, purest form of graffiti and there’s a lot of skill involved in being able to write a good tag which I want to highlight in my work.”
All Opake’s works are original, mixed media artworks on board, that have been hand-drawn and finished in resin.